From black snot to frequent nosebleeds: what your nose can reveal about your health – and when to worry | The Sun

IT'S kind of gross to talk about, but you can learn a lot a lot from your nose – and what comes out of it.

From what your sense of smell can uncover about your brain to what the colour of your snot can reveal about your lungs, your snout can uncloak quite a lot.

Here, we delve into the signs of symptoms of six serious conditions which you might first spot in your nostrils.

1. Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia 

If you often suffer from nosebleeds, you could have a genetic condition known as hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia.

People with HHT have some blood vessels which have not developed properly and can sometimes cause bleeding, both externally (nose) and internally, the NHS says.

When to worry

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Frequent bleeding spells can lead to anaemia and other serious health issues like strokes.

If people bleed from inside the lungs, this can trigger low blood oxygen levels.

When it happens, it can cause cause seizures or headaches.

If you believe you have HHT, it's important you see your GP.

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Although there is no cure, there are effective treatments such as taking iron supplements and laser therapy to stop bleeding.

2. Diabetes

Find you can't smell like you used to?

Diabetes can contribute to a compromised sense of smell.

Though it’s a subtle complication, the effects can be distressing.

The condition causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.

There are two types, with the main difference being that type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition, while type 2 is caused by lifestyle choices such as weight gain.

It can often go undetected and be hard to spot, as signs can be brushed off as something else.

A French study found that those with type 1 diabetes had poorer sense of smell than those without diabetes.

They found the more severe someone’s diabetes complications, the greater likelihood of an impaired sense of smell.

Other symptoms of diabetes include feeling very thirsty, peeing more, fatigue, weight loss and blurred vision.

When to worry

Diabetes, if badly managed, can cause nerve damage known as neuropathy – which is believed to be the cause of the loss of smell.

If you are experiencing a compromised sense of smell, talk to your doctor.

Damage from neuropathy may be permanent. 

3. Brain disorder

You may smell something that isn’t there.

The aroma could be pleasant or nasty, or maybe you can only smell it from one nostril.

The disorder, called parosmia, happens when the smell receptors in the nose don't detect odour and translate them to your brain in the way they should, the NHS says.

When to worry

Parosmia occurs when something is going wrong from inside the brain.

Sometimes its just the result of a virus, like Covid, and will pass within a few weeks.

But it can also be triggered by a head injury, drugs, seizures or a brain tumour.

It's important to see a doctor to rule out anything serious.

Having a distorted sense of smell can be a health risk in itself.

You might be eating spoiled food, or miss things like smoke or a gas leak.

4. Infection

If you've spotted yellow-ish snot after blowing your nose, chances are you're feeling a bit under the weather.

Pharmacist Rita Ghelani said if you notice your bogies or snot edging towards a yellow shade, it could be a sign your body is fighting an infection.

"The yellow colour is a result of your infection-fighting white blood cells being expelled with your mucus," the expert previously told the Sun.

"You’re probably feeling rough and very blocked up."

When to worry

Your body will usually clear up the infection within a few days.

But if you're still feeling unwell after a week, your GP might be able to prescribe you some antibiotics.

5. Fungal infection

Having black snot or bogies could be the sign of a serious fungal infection in the lungs, like aspergillosis.

Aspergillosis is a disease caused by aspergillus – a common mould found both indoors and outdoors.

According to the Centre for Disease Control, most people breathe in spores each day and don't get sick.

But people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a greater risk of developing health problems.

Other symptoms include a fever, chest pain, coughing up blood and shortness of breath.

However, in most cases having black boogers is down to where you live, and the air you breath in.

People who live polluted areas are more likely to see black stuff in their noses than those who live in the countryside.

When to worry

A fungal infection in your respiratory system is very serious, and requires urgent medical care.

It can cause long-term damage to the lungs.

Your doctor can diagnose your infection and treat it with antifungal medication, or refer your to a hospital.

6. Rosacea

If your schnozzle seems to be permanently red, you could have Rosacea.

The long-term skin condition causes redness and burning on the face, the NHS says.

When to worry

Over time, especially in men, rosacea can thicken and redden the skin on the nose, leading to a condition known as rhinophyma, the British Association of Dermatologists explains.

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In serious cases, it can change the shape of your nose and even make it harder to breathe.

Unfortunately, there is not a cure for this skin condition, which can cause low self-esteem in those who have it.

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